Our Mission

The Justice System Reform department promotes social and economic justice through its efforts to ensure police accountability, end racial profiling and mass incarceration, eliminate the unfair collateral consequences of involvement with the criminal legal system, and challenge systemic racial discrimination and inequities at all stages of the system.

Our Work

Impact Litigation

Our team represents individuals and community-based organizations throughout the South, in cases that raise important criminal justice issues. These cases also create the potential for structural change that  have positive implications for racial justice, particularly if there is community-wide organizing support.

Policy Advocacy

Our policy advocacy engages a number of different issues, including but not limited to: police accountability, mass incarceration, and helping people with criminal records reintegrate into their communities.

We believe individuals are not the sum of their worst mistakes.

Current Partners

North Carolina Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty — The Southern Coalition for Social Justice is a proud member of the North Carolina Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (NCCADP). Members of the SCSJ Justice System Reform team meet regularly with NCCADP partners to brainstorm strategies for not only raising awareness and educating the public about the injustice of the death penalty, but also for ending the death penalty in North Carolina altogether.

UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health — The Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) is partnering with a UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health graduate student team to discuss and analyze the “justice” system in North Carolina, as well as community-led preventative programs and alternatives to criminalization that impact youth and their community. This group will partner with community members previously or currently impacted by the juvenile justice system and/or the school-to-prison pipeline, who will act as either co-researchers or research participants. The goal of this project is to amplify the voices of impacted community members to guide future discussions regarding ending youth criminalization in North Carolina.

Police Accountability

Open Data Policing

Know Your Rights

Safe Reentry

Your First 48 Toolkit

Ban the Box

Fair Chance Business Certification

Effective Expungement

Clean Slate

 

Youth Justice & Safe Schools

Youth Justice Project

#LiberateToEducate

#CounselorsNotCops

In The News

Justice System Reform

Durham School Students, Advocates Discuss School-to-Prison Pipeline at Duke Class

Durham public school students joined social justice advocates at Duke Law last week to discuss school-to-prison pipeline in North Carolina and the barriers preventing its dismantling, the broader impact of organizing, peer education, and community lawyering in justice work. Historically, North Carolina schools are the source of nearly half of annual referrals to the juvenile…

Read More Durham School Students, Advocates Discuss School-to-Prison Pipeline at Duke Class
On right, a photo of a smling Black girl with an afro ponytail in front of.a white circle. On left, a photo of a jumping graduate with green decorative elements betweenthe girl and the graduate.
Justice System Reform

SCSJ Supports Calls for Columbus Sheriff Investigation, Resignation

Durham, N.C. (Sept. 29, 2022) — WECT News 6 published an article Wednesday detailing racist comments made by Columbus County Sheriff Jody Greene. The Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) is alarmed and horrified that the chief law enforcement officer of Columbus County used such offensive and disparaging language to describe Black deputies and residents…

Read More SCSJ Supports Calls for Columbus Sheriff Investigation, Resignation

Our Cases

Criminal Justice

Johnson & Smoot v. Jessup

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) revoked the licenses of hundreds of thousands of people simply because they cannot afford to pay traffic fines and court costs. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of North Carolina, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice sued to end the practice, which funnels low-income people further into poverty, in violation of their due process and equal protection rights under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Read More Johnson & Smoot v. Jessup
Criminal Justice

Unfounded Allegations of Voter Fraud

In cases that highlighted the intersection between our criminal justice reform and voting rights work, SCSJ represented five individuals who were charged in Alamance County, North Carolina with voting while ineligible due to criminal convictions.  We filed motions to dismiss the charges on the grounds that the statute allowing the state to seek felony convictions…

Read More Unfounded Allegations of Voter Fraud

Featured Staff